Burned worker needing surgery says he's yet to see compo
A BADLY burned mine worker says his surgery was cancelled this week because he hasn't got the compensation a court ordered he be paid.
Ben Nelson had hoped that after a horrific accident at Collinsville, an August court decision and payout would make conditions safer for other mine workers.
Instead, he said he was left stunned this week after being told the money had not been paid.
NewsRegional contacted mining services company Thiess on Tuesday.
Mr Nelson said Thiess contacted him later that day, said there'd been a mix-up and apologised.
As Thiess has not answered media inquiries about the payment, it was not completely clear what the issue with the payment was.
What was clear, Mr Nelson said, was that he still hasn't received the $50,000 gratuity Brisbane Industrial Magistrates Court ordered he be paid.
In August, Thiess was ordered to pay an offender levy of $118.80, a $45,000 fine, and the $50,000 moiety or gratuity.
Thiess was also told to pay $45,050.75 in court costs after the Department of Natural Resources and Mines took the firm to court.
Mr Nelson said he so far only received the $118.80.
"If they paid the $118 two months ago why not pay the rest? It's just really weird.”
Mr Nelson was in Sydney on Monday where he'd been expecting to get an operation, five years after the Collinsville explosion.
"I was booked into the hospital ... to have the surgery done.”
He said his new employer had made special arrangements for his leave.
Mr Nelson said after travelling from his new hometown of Lawrence, NSW, the hospital told him surgery was "cancelled because payment hasn't been made.”
Mr Nelson said he had been trying to get answers from the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
A DNRM spokesperson said on Tuesday the department "acknowledges the significant inconvenience suffered by Mr Nelson owing to the delay in receiving the money awarded to him by the Industrial Magistrates Court on 4 August 2017.”
DNRM had been in touch with the State Penalties Enforcement Registry "to highlight this matter” and pursue full payment for Mr Nelson.
"A letter from DNRM with advice about this process and contact details for further information is currently being prepared for Mr Nelson,” the spokesperson added.
In August, Mr Nelson said he believed Thiess, managing contractor at Collinsville, was "sincere” when voicing regret for the accident.
Prosecutor Dearne Firth said in August the risk to Mr Nelson, who received third-degree burns, would have been reduced if he had received adequate training.
But she acknowledged Thiess had no previous convictions and was mostly a good "corporate citizen”. -NewsRegional-NewsRegional